The Accidental Historian: The Great War echoes in the streets of Knutsford

The Accidental Historian:  The Great War echoes in the streets of Knutsford

The Accidental Historian - Tony Davies

The Accidental Historian: The Great War echoes in the streets of Knutsford

First published in News

With the centenary of the start of the Great War looming I thought it would be an idea to explain how the local communities of Knutsford suffered during the conflict.

In total, Knutsford and the surrounding villages lost 274 men. Over the coming weeks I am going to focus on some of the town’s key Streets and landmarks the stories of the boys from the area, who went to war and never came home. We owe it to them to remember.

This week let’s review the losses from Tatton Street. A map of 1913 shows a street not so very different from today, except of course there was no Laura Ashley.

However, the war came to visit this street very harshly for it lost seven of its sons.

Harry (32) and Fred Darlington (36) were brothers who lived at no. 9. Fred was a pork butcher and Harry was a house painter. Harry later married and moved to Canute Place. Fred died of wounds during the long Battle of the Somme on the 12th October 1916 and Harry was killed in action in France on the 21st October 1915.

John Garner (24) lived at no. 29. He was a groom at the stables of the Royal George Hotel. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and was later transferred to the East Lancashire Regiment. During an action on the Western Front on the 15th March 1917 John was killed. The war diary states that “the thaw accompanied by heavy rain made everything into a quagmire”.

George Kennerley (26) resided at no. 23. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and was sent to Mesopotamia, where he was one of thousands of troops who succumbed to disease. He died on the 6th April 1918.

George Lucas (20) was a labourer and lived at no. 41. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and was killed in a training accident before he was sent abroad.

Samuel Last Peers (25) was a grocer’s assistant and lived at no. 39. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment before being transferred into the Machine Gun Company. He was killed in action on the 11th August 1917.

Charles Richardson (24) lived at no. 43. He was a plumber. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and arrived in France in early 1915. It would appear he was killed when his billet was struck by enemy shells on the 16th January 1916.

The story of this street is repeated throughout the UK.. Of the seven lads discussed here only one Harry Darlington was married with children before he set out on his adventure. What this means is their only legacy is the one we choose to bestow on them by remembering their sacrifice. For who else will remember them if we do not?

In the next instalment I will tell of how the local hostelries suffered as the war raged.

My book ‘The Knutsford Lads Who Never Came Home’ tells the full stories of all the men from the area who lost their lives in this war to end all wars . It is available at Waterstones, via Amazon or by contacting me direct for a signed copy.

If you have any stories or memorabilia from the Great War then please get in touch at tony@tonydavies.me or follow me on twitter @TonyDavies856

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